Which Snake has the Deadliest Venom?

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I have a new poll for you. All I know is that I have some grandmas and aunts who may want nothing to do with these guys. Come to think of it — NOBODY should have anything to do with these guys! I’ll give you the answer in a week or so.

Caravan to CARE, Sunday, February 24

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Hi everyone,

Many people have wanted to go visit CARE and see all the big cats (and lemurs). How about we caravan out there on Sunday, February 24? We can meet at the Central Market parking lot (I-30 and Hulen in Fort Worth) at 9 a.m. It takes about an hour to get to Bridgeport. Once we are there, it costs about $10 per person for a two-to-three hour tour of the facility. Wear good walking shoes and comfy clothing. It’s all outside so dress appropriately.


No one age 7 and¬†younger is allowed because the tigers see little people that age as LUNCH. Literally. The cats get real wound-up and upset if they see a little person, so bummer that your tiny little sister or brother cannot go. But if you have a sister or brother that’s, say, age 9 or 10 — then yeah. Bring them. I promise NOTHING will happen to them ūüôā


After the visit we can all stop for lunch somewhere for anyone who wants to. It’s sort of fun to hash out the stories and share the pictures.


Bring a camera and a package of chicken (legs, thighs, wings — the cats are not picky). Also, some grapes for the lemurs is cool, too. They LOVE to eat them. I can’t remember the cost but for something like $50 or $60 you can do a lemur encounter. I will warn you — the lemurs¬†may poo on you — but that’s because they feel comf0rtable with you.

Start giving me an RSVP so we can decide if we have enough people to make the trip. You can e-mail my mom at kari.kirkham@charter.net.

I hope you will go. It’s a lot of fun!


"Do we understand one another?"

“Do we understand one another?”

Samson at CARE. "I'll talk with you when I'm good and ready!"

Samson at CARE. “I’ll talk with you when I’m good and ready!”


CARE, Bridgeport, TX

CARE, Bridgeport, TX

CARE, Bridgeport, TX

CARE, Bridgeport, TX

CARE lemurs, Jan 2012

That lemur's doing whaaaat?

That lemur’s doing whaaaat?

Executive Director of CARE, Heidi Kruhn and Cassie.

Executive Director of CARE, Heidi Kruhn and Cassie.


Happy New Year!

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For a penny donation JoeBites made $60 -- or about 600 "guys." The money will be sent to CARE and the Nature Center.

For a penny donation JoeBites made $60 — or about 600 “guys.” The money will be sent to CARE and the Nature Center.

Hope everyone had a great New Year’s. I have not been blogging lately because school is so busy, but I did find a little time to raise a little money over the holidays.

When I was a little kid I did not carry a blanket or stuffed animal around. My security blanket, as it were, were those little plastic animals. You know how there are little plastic Army men? Well, these are animals. You can get zoo animals, farm animals, reptiles, birds, aquatic animals — all kinds. I would not leave the house without two or three in each hand. I used to play with them all the time. I made “set ups” with them and I called them “guys.” This became a cheap and easy gift for me. I got “guys” from my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. I ended up with hundreds of “guys.”

Now that I am older I don’t play with them anymore and I wanted to get the pails upon pails of them out of my room. So, I took them to my Dad’s store (The Import Store, http://www.theimportstore.com) and for a penny donation to the Nature Center or Big Cat CARE, you could chose a “guy.”

I started with about 8 pails and I’m down to about 3. We’ve made $60 from it, or about 600 “guys.” I get to send a check to the Nature Center for $30 and Big Cat CARE for $30. Those “guys” paid off!

For a penny donation to the Nature Center or CARE, you could get one "guy."

For a penny donation to the Nature Center or CARE, you could get one “guy.”

Mako Shark is the Fastest!

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For those of you who took the poll about which is the fastest shark if you said the mako, then you are correct. According to Wild Wild World, the mako can swim as fast as 45 mph. That’s one fast shark. Remind me not to get in it’s path.

The Great Shark Race — who will win?

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Giving Checks to Friends of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge and Big Cat CARE

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What a great week! I got to deliver some nice checks to the Friends of the Fort Worth Nature Center last week. They had a board of directors meeting and they were very nice to invite me to join them. My mom and dad came, too. I would have had a great video to show but my dad accidentally clicked his video player wrong so we wound up with a great video of his lap. My mom didn’t take a lot of pictures because she thought my dad was handling that. Oh well. Sorry Friends — I hope that you got some good shots.

Joe present fundraising check to FWNC&R director, Suzanne Tuttle.
Photo by Kari Kirkham

I also went to Big Cat CARE this weekend. My friend Manda who helped me raise money this summer came (along with her family), too. It was the first time they have visited CARE and it is always fun to see the look on faces of people when they see how many big cats are out there. Heidi Krahn, the director at CARE gave us all a great tour. Her daughter, Destiny (but I think I heard her mom call her “peaches,”) is showing 0ff something that the lion cubs were eating. Sorry if this grosses some people out. It’s the circle of life, though. And CARE is very careful about the food that the big cats eat. It has to be meat from animals that passed from natural causes.

Destiny shows off some “lion food” at CARE.
Photo by Kari Kirkham

L to R, Joe Kirkham, Abigail, Luke & Manda Tuttle.
Photo by Kari Kirkham

We also saw the lemurs. That was a big hit with Manda and her family. I am proud to say that I was accepted by the lemur family. One pooped on me. If that isn’t feeling comfortable around someone, I don’t know what is.

Check out more pictures on my photo pages.

I love going to both these places. Thanks to everyone who gave to the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge and Big Cat CARE during the JoeSentMe! fundraiser this year. We made $3,350.

Thanks again!


Joe and lion cub at CARE.
Photo by Kari Kirkham

 JoeSentMe! Donors for 2012

Shellie Metroka, Audrey & Dan Metroka, Charles Eklund, Ann & Dan Kirkham, Kathy & Andy Rector, Linda Rector, Deborah & Dr. Frank Lonergan, Kathy & Mark Metroka, Sharon & Paul Dooley, Tina & Ron Oldham, Devery Cash, Jane Rector, David Shabon of ICI, William & Patrcia Donnally, Nancy & Gordon Marchant, Karee, Duane & Ben Galloway-Bidwell, The Resultants, Inc., Dr. Raskopf & Rockie Deutscher, 360 West Magazine, Kim & Efrain Martinez, Mary & the Artful Bead staff, Michael Poriotis, Casey Tibbet, the Trittipo-Segundo family, Marty Leonard, Lani Aker, Ann & Steve Christian, the Pearl family, Dr. Grotta & Alpha Grotta, Babs Rodriguez, Elliott Oldenburg, Ric, Alma, Sylvester & Zoe Rodriguez, Paul & Paula LaRoque.

Raising Money Bake Sale Style!

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Passion Horse Ranch saves Premarin foals, one foal at a time. Photo courtesy of Passion Horse Ranch.

My dad let a rescue group called Passion Horse collect money at The Import Store this weekend. Passion Horse saves horses and foals that are used to get urine and make medicine from it, especially Premarin. A lot of times after the horses are used they lose their “usefulness” and get slaughtered. And if they have the bad luck of getting pregnant, the foals are¬† slaughtered too. I put up my Joe Sent Me! stuff and the Passion Horse group and I spent the long weekend collecting money for our animal causes.

Last Friday Passion Horse brought a horse, Bentley to the store. Yesterday, my friend Sylvester and his sister, Zoe helped me collect money, too.

Zoe, Sly and Joe at the bake sale

If you live in the area and get a chance to go by The Import Store be sure to buy some delicious treats! It’s all for good causes.
A special thanks to all the people that donated baked goods for the bake sale. It was mostly the Passion Horse people — so thanks! And thanks to everyone who supported us, too!

Check out Passion Horse at http://www.passionhorse.com/

I’ll be there this Sunday & Monday

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Saving Sea Turtle Nests in Florida

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Photo courtesy of SWTWG

My Aunt Sharon lives in Florida and she told me about another Sharon in Florida that helps sea turtles.  Sharon Maxwell started a group called the South Walton Turtle Watch Group (http://southwaltonturtlewatch.org). The SWTW are a group of volunteers who seek out and protect sea turtle nests along the beach. Volunteers have to have extensive training to do this, too. Did you know that according to the SWTWG, sea turtles are protected by the Endangered Species Act and only those with special permits are allowed to touch the nests, turtles, or hatchlings? There is a $2,500.00 reward for information leading to the conviction of violators.

 J: How long has the SWTWG group been around?

SM: The South Walton Turtle Watch Group was started by me in 1995.

J: What is your main goal?

SM: Our goal is to provide a safe place for sea turtles to nest, and to find, mark, move and monitor these nests.  Also to provide data to the state and Federal government about these nests

J: Since you have been a volunteer how many people that hurt the turtle nests have you helped get convicted?

SM:  We have only had one incident on someone doing harm to a sea turtle nest and we were able to do some good education with this person and they now help protect sea turtle nest.

J: How many hours does a volunteer have to train to be able to help sea turtles? What are the rules they have to follow?

SM: Training is provided every year by the State of Florida and lasts for five hours for new comers. Then it is on-the- job (so to speak) for a year or two before you can be more than just a walker and do things. Also, this training is every year for us in SWTWG. The state of Florida provides guidelines for everything we do.  We have to follow these guidelines and report to the state all of our activities.

 J: How far does your territory extend?

SM:Our permit covers all the non-state park beaches in Walton County (about 24 miles), which we walk everyday from May 1 through October.

Relocating a nest
Photo courtesy of SWTWG

 J: How many volunteers do you have?

SM: We have 25 on our permit. These are the people that not only walk, but determine if the sea turtle tracks are nests or just false crawls. They mark and move nests, and evaluate nests after they hatch.  They also have to do sea turtle strandings. That is, moving or helping dead or injured sea turtles. We have another permit for just walkers, and there are about 40 on this permit.

 J: So it sounds like there are a couple levels of involvement for the volunteers. Some get more involved after extensive training while the less-experienced just walk and report things to you.

J: How did the nests do this summer?

SM: This summer we have had 96 nests and only about 30 have hatched so far. Of those hatchings, most were successful.

J: Do you work only with loggerhead turtles or do you work with other animals too?

SM: This year we have had four of the five sea turtle species that nest in the state of Florida. Those are the Loggerhead (our most frequent nester), the Kemps Ridley, the Leatherback and the Green. Our permit covers all sea turtle activities on all sea turtles, the only animal covered on the permit.

J:What is going on with the light ordinance? Why is nighttime lighting important to sea turtles?

A green heading to the water
Photo courtesy of SWTWG

SM: We have had a lighting ordinance for three years now, and I am sorry to say not much has happened with it in place. Not many lights have been changed. This year we are really getting on the county to do something about it. Write letters and file folks, we do hope they do this. ¬†We also are trying to get someone to sell red light-emitting flashlights. Sea turtles do not see the red light spectrum, so these are great for walking on the beach at night. ¬†Adult and hatchling sea turtles always go to the lightest horizon, which before artificial light was around, was the water. Now artificial light draws the turtles to it, and they don’t find the water. We can see this in adult tracks and also when we are releasing hatchlings. Even someone coming down the beach with a white-light flashlight can draw the hatchling to the light. It seems that to get to the water a sea turtle only uses its sight so this is a very important issue for their conservation.

Photo courtesy of SWTWG

Thanks, Sharon for all you and SWTWG do. It is hard work for volunteers but it’s worth it.

To get more information about South Walton Turtle Watch check out their website at http://southwaltonturtlewatch.org.


First Week of School

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This was my first week of school. I’m SO tired. It’s hard to get back into the swing of things and there seems to be a lot more homework to do in 9th grade. Summer vacation went by just too fast.
Manda and I are still collecting money for the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge and the Center for Animal Research & Education. We have a little over $500 to earn to meet our $4,000 goal for this season. It is not too late to support these two great causes. Be sure to check out their links — you can find them on this blog. Tell your friends, too.

We are SO close to our goal — just $500 more!

I will have more animal stories soon after school gets going and I am used to it again. Talk to you soon — and THANKS.

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